Last Updated: September 17, 2017
Speakeasy bars have become a rather commonplace occurrence in Singapore, but The Dragon Chamber hidden within Lokkee at Plaza Singapura is possibly the first speakeasy restaurant here.
If you’re a fan of the American style Chinese food Lokkee serves, you should definitely check out The Dragon Chamber for a more unconventional take on exotic dishes.
This 42 seater restaurant is only accessible through a door that’s hidden in a tall red cabinet which leads to a hallway of mirrors before opening up into a dimly lit room that’s illuminated by naked light bulbs and wall murals that glow beautifully.
I was duly wow-ed by the Ultraviolet Oolong ($4.50); first a glass of blue chai oolong tea, but once the accompanying lime juice is stirred in, it becomes a beautiful purplish-pink, definitely symbolic of the transition from Lokkee to The Dragon Chamber.
I was a bit worried that the lime juice would render the drink too sour, but I found that there was a nice hint of sourness while still retaining the flavour of the tea.
Starting off the meal with the ‘Bakkwa’ Bacon Salad ($32), I soon realised that presentation is essential to most of the dishes here at The Dragon Chamber, and why wouldn’t it? Those billowing clouds of smoke from the dry ice are certainly Instagram worthy, along with the strips of meat hanging from the pole above the salad dripping delicious oil to further flavour the salad.
The bakkwa strips were sweet and smoky, with bits of crisp edges helping to provide a textural contrast against the softness of the meat. Paired with the crunchy lotus root croutons, I found myself polishing off every bit of the bakkwa bacon.
I’m generally not squeamish, when the Josper Grilled Pig’s Tail ($26) was served, I was more excited than anything else. The skin was charred to perfection, and I was informed that the best way to eat it was to pull apart the skin, fat and meat before wrapping it in the lettuce and drizzling some chilli fish sauce over.
The meat was extremely flavourful and I loved that the pieces of fat and charred skin paired nicely with the chilli fish sauce, giving the dish a slight heat.
The Dragon’s Claw ($60) was definitely the most interesting and exotic dish; featuring a crocodile paw that’s braised in herbal sauce and set atop a bed of kale. The ingredients in this dish are all sourced locally from a crocodile farm in Singapore that supplies meat to restaurants.
Crocodile meat is extremely high in protein with little fat and is believed to have medicinal properties, so I was definitely not expecting the texture to be similar to chicken. In fact, with the herbal braising sauce, the meat tasted more like herbal chicken with gelatinous skin that was silky and rich.
At first glance, the X.O. ‘Grub’ Chop Suey ($24) looks as if it’s made with cordyceps, but once you chomp down on it, you’ll realise that it’s actually Chinese artichoke thanks to its crunchier texture and a taste that is common amongst root vegetables. Made with a medley of vegetables like kale, zucchini and mushrooms, this dish is earthy and a lot more filling than it looks.
The mushrooms were tender and the crunchy kale added a nice saltiness. The X.O. sauce used had a nice hit of spice, along with a sweetness from the conpoy.
I’m usually not a big fan of Chinese desserts, but I was intrigued by the Sweet Mulberry Egg Tea ($7). Mulberry tea is brewed first, then eggs are boiled in it along with dates, lotus seeds and cane sugar to impart a sweet flavour to the tea.
The tea was sweet and after breaking the egg and mixing the yolk in, I found that it turned a little savoury. Similar to what we’ll eat on the first day of Chinese New Year with mee sua. It certainly is unique to include this into a restaurant’s menu.
The Dragon Chamber is definitely not for everybody, with plenty of dishes that are more exotic than what we normally see in Chinese restaurants in Singapore, but I thoroughly enjoyed myself.
By going out of the norm, trying the dishes here felt like a breath of fresh air. I’ll be waiting for more restaurants to start getting out of their comfort zones and offer more adventurous dishes.
Expected damage: $30 – $50 per pax